18
Oct
magazines

Earlier this week, we posted the first look at the upcoming Android Play Store app v4.4. As it turns out, besides sporting a new look and a secret message to the teardown team, the updated Play Store is strongly hinting at another new arrival - one we've been waiting for since March. And now we have the updated name for it - Google Play Newsstand.

March 2013: Google Play News

But first, allow me to refresh your memory. Back in March of this year, we got a tip about several interesting bits of Javascript and CSS code inside the web version of the Play Store. The code hinted at the advent of Google Play News - a digital newspaper counterpart to Play Magazines. Magazines are purple, and Play News was supposed to be yellow. The code also suggested that you could purchase individual news issues or start subscriptions.

Swatches

Following our revelation, Ron's teardowns went on high alert for any signs of Play News in upcoming Play Store builds, but to our surprise, we haven't heard a peep about it for over 7 months. Until Play Store v4.4.

October 2013: Google Play Newsstand

Here is what I have found during the Play Store 4.4 APK teardown.

  1. What used to be called Google Play News in the website code has been now renamed to Google Play Newsstand.
  2. Since the code is now inside the Play Store APK, I am fairly sure Google has decided to move forward with the digital news service after all, and it may be, in fact, nearing launch.
  3. If you don't have the Play Newsstand app, the Play Store will instruct you to download it, just like it does with Play Movies, for instance.
  4. There is a high chance that the Play Newsstand app will take the place of Play Magazines, meaning Play Magazines will turn into Play Newsstand, and we won't have two separate apps that both kind of do the same thing. The code suggests it in a number of places, but it continues to mention Magazines as well, so there's still a chance we'll have two apps. However, I think we're simply seeing both Magazines and Newsstand mentions because the Play Store needs to robustly handle all situations.
  5. A free trial will be offered.
  6. My Newsstand will be the relevant area with your newspapers and magazines, similar to My Apps, etc.
  7. Here's the introduction text: "Your favorite magazines and news are right here on Google Play. Pick up the latest issues or try out a free trial subscription. Read instantly with the Play Newsstand app, even offline."

And now, the supporting evidence:

<string name="newsstand_download_required">To continue, you need the latest Play Newsstand app.</string>
<string name="widget_newsstand_now_playing">My Newsstand</string>
<string name="how_to_newsstand_app">Open the Play Newsstand app</string>
<string name="warm_welcome_try_newsstand_app">Try Newsstand app</string>
<string name="warm_welcome_install_newsstand_app">Install Newsstand app</string>
<string name="warm_welcome_enable_newsstand_app">Enable Newsstand app</string>
<string name="warm_welcome_title_newsstand">Check out the latest magazines and news</string>
<string name="warm_welcome_description_newsstand">Your favorite magazines and news are right here on Google Play. Pick up the latest issues or try out a free trial subscription. Read instantly with the Play Newsstand app, even offline.</string>
<string name="content_description_thumbnail_newsstand">Image of newsstand cover %1$s</string>
<string name="no_results_for_query_newsstand">No newsstand results found for "%1$s". Extending the search to the entire Store.</string>

I am not sure when Google Play Newsstand is going to be announced and whether such an announcement will coincide with Nexus and KitKat releases, but it's most definitely approaching.

P.S. I'd also like to clarify something. When I heard that the New York Google Play event was not related to hardware, I started suspecting that perhaps Google was going to announce Play Newsstand there instead. However, a subsequent update from a credible source put an end to any chance of that happening since there would be no news announced at the event at all. It seems to be generic in nature and targeted at mainstream press, which explains why most tech publications never got the invitation in the first place.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Edward Germanotta

    So... What's gonna happen in that event if they arent annuncing anything at all?

    • mesmorino

      That's EXACTLY what I've been wondering.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just journalists playing with crap, listening to music, and getting drunk is my guess.

      • Testraindrop

        How is that different to every other Press event? ;-)

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          The difference is usually press events have actual news.

      • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

        Would you go as far as to say that there might even be blackjack and hookers?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Hey, come on now, this is not CES.

          • darkdude1

            I'd love to go to Google Input/Output ;)

    • djakdekiel

      They are going to give everyone KitKat and say goodbye :P

      • Joshua

        The thing is, I could totally see this happening.

      • darkdude1

        This is it. This is what it's all been about! :P

    • Rice30

      Google = Biggest Troll so far.

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  • Grimmjow

    Magazines is still in 1 or 2 countries only right? I think some team just woke up.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Australia, Canada, United Kingdom. United States.

  • Rovindra Singh

    What in blue blazes is going on with this event - no one cares about a press event for absolutely nothing! Why are we not getting an announcement for an event to reveal KitKat and the Nexus 5? Enough with the teasing Google, I think it's time to deliver, please!!!!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      We weren't supposed to care, but the word got out and it was posted without a known context, at which point the Internet exploded.

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        Any acknowledgement by Google of any event, news or otherwise, is at this point like a needle approaching a balloon.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Riddle me this - Why would anyone 'pay' for news when so many news apps provide news for free? Don't say "quality of news".

    • JackMackie

      Quality of news.

    • Josh C

      Lack of ads.

      • Rovindra Singh

        Circa.

        • Roh_Mish

          Love Circa.! If they had More sources for a bit more local news (Currently only US is available.) Then it would replace flipboard and all the app. Its designed well, fast, efficient, and is always up-to-date without any battery drain effect that flipboard has from time to time.

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        Somewhat a valid point. but there aren't hat many ads in flipboard. And Circa doesn't have any.

    • Mobile Phones Fan

      if your definition of 'quality' incorporates diverse characteristics like 'frequency', 'depth', 'breadth' or 'exclusivity', then sure...I'll gladly say, 'quality of news'.

      cf.: Reports of Pierre Omidyar's news-site play. If Glenn Greenwald is the only reporter with Snowden's files, then lots of folks would pay for his news-feed.
      .

      • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

        Android Police is free, so your argument is invalid.

    • Danny Holyoake

      I pay 69p a month for access to The Guardian. Their Android app is fantastic.

      • cococcoo

        Nice try journalist.

  • DirkBelig

    Here's a thought: What If they're going to launch an all-you-can-eat magazine service exactly like Next Issue, but with an app that actually works on Android. They did Play Music All-Access to compete against Spotify, so this isn't exactly an impossible idea.

  • Mastermind26

    So newstand will be an adfree news reader if you pay (I assume)?
    Are small ads in news articles really THAT annoying that people would subscribe/pay to read news?

    Feedly serves me well.

    • hp420

      sounds to me like it will have things like the NYT and WSJ subscriptions.

      • Mastermind26

        because other news sites don't report what the NYT or WSJ report????

        • Roh_Mish

          Even if you pay, they could have ads. When you buy a newspaper (hard-copy), you pay for it. Still it has ads. In my country, The largest newspaper provider has nearly 1/2 of its contents as ads. You sometimes (especially on sundays and holidays or festive seasons) literally need to search the pages to find the news. Yet it is more costly then other newspapers.

          • Arpit

            You talking about times of india ,take a look at hindu it costs twice as much but the ads are very less and the quality of jouralism is high

          • Roh_Mish

            I like hindu but the news feels selective. I have DNA subscription but my mom sometimes gets TOI from neighbours as she feels papers should have content (ads?) Like toi.

    • ddpacino

      Some news sources, like my local Baltimore Sun, only allow you to read a certain number of articles before you're hit with a paywall and cannot read anymore articles. And as a Ravens fan I NEED to read those articles posted about my team. And no, I rather not have to go through the hassle of trying to circumvent that.

      I'm a Feedly fan of many years as well, and recently purchased Press to try that out. I like them both. However, depending on the content provider, you can't even read an entire article in the app. Maybe just the first sentence, ala BaltimoreRavens.com, so the feed is pointless when I have to open the webpage to view the entire article.

  • hp420

    Press events announce things. This is what they do, by definition. This is often referred to as....wait for it...."news". If there is no news, calling it a press event is a misnomer. So what is going to happen if there is no news, and why the hell would the press care about something that isn't news? Something is fishy....sounds to me like they are trying to throw us off our game here.

    • Sahil Chaturvedi

      Do keep in mind that all these leaks are shown to us geeks.. the minority. Most people don't know anything about the Nexus 5 or Android 4.4: it'll all be new to them!

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I'd argue that a Press Event would be defined as an event for the press. In other words, an event to which the press are invited or asked to come. The onus is not on the host to provide news for the press just because they showed up.

      I believe this is simply a case of a vague invite for an ordinary meet-and-greet being sent out at a time that incidentally coincides sheer madness in the Android community.

  • Joseph Cascio

    inb4 Apple files lawsuit claiming to own the term Newsstand same as they did with Appstore.

    • Dennis Ulijn

      Prior Art.

      • jaduncan

        You have confused trademarks and patents.

  • Christopher Sass

    Please rename it. Newsstand is too similar to Apple's app.

    • Simon Belmont

      Well, a newsstand is the name of an actual object that holds newspapers, so I don't think Apple defend that. But, with Apple, you never know.

      The name seems okay, enough. It doesn't offend me, at least.

      • Christopher Sass

        Not about whether or not Apple defends it. Doesn't mean they can't name it something else though. Play News perhaps?

        • Simon Belmont

          Apparently, no! But who knows.

          Maybe they'll change it when it's unveiled. The tech industry is such a fluid thing!

  • LewisSD

    Whats going to happen to Google Currents?

    • Roh_Mish

      Maybe this would be incorporated into currents? They need to work on currents. It just takes too much battery, slows my phone down, and even then, when i go into the app it is still not up-to-date

  • Roh_Mish

    Hope this comes to larger group of countries. Apple has all their services except the new Radio in India and although their service is a bit slow to start, I works. Play on other hand is still missing the Music and Magazines in the store. The Movies collection is also limited in local (Indian) movies area. If they want to beat apple, they need to change this.

    • Michael Pahl

      What percent of India's 1.6 billion people are regular internet users? When that percentage hits higher than 10% I think India will get more Google attention. Huge potential there, but not exactly where new releases are going to hit first.

      • Roh_Mish

        But still India has one of the largest online population.

        • Michael Pahl

          But still Google's home country is going to be where new features are launched.

          • Roh_Mish

            But the same things apply to apple. Here, most people use android and not iOS. But yet apple launched all their services for us having a very limited market share. And people uho use android in india is well over 10%. Or even 20%. So google has a considerable market share here.

  • Oğuz Can Ayverdi

    Uhh, good for Americans, I guess.

    • Michael Pahl

      never fails to show up on these announcements. NEVER fails.

      • Oğuz Can Ayverdi

        :) I wonder why.

  • NF

    Maybe this event will not have news, but an event that morning or the day before could announce this feature.

  • Sakshar Thakkar

    This Nexus 5/Kitkat thing is becoming a suspense drama.

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